National Eating Disorders Association

Stories of Hope

Falling In Love With My Pre-Pregnancy Body
By Mackenna Coffey

I absolutely love my friends stories about falling in love with their post pregnancy bodies. Time and time again I see their posts and think, "Wow, these women rock", I love their confidence, but when I see their posts I can't help, but to think about my feelings towards my own body. I have not had a baby and yet I have stretch marks on my thighs, breasts, and tummy. I start feeling a little guilty that my body is already so stretched out for a women who has never carried a baby. Then the worst fear of all, if I can't love my body now, how am I going to love it after it goes through the changes of pregnancy? Like a lot of women I have had some insecurities about my body. I spent my childhood as one of the heavier kids and then I went to college and fell deep into the wrath of an eating disorder. I remember when I decided that enough was enough and I was going to take back my life and kick my disorder to the curb. It was a year before I was going to be married and I remember reading the article, "When Your Mother Says She's Fat" by Kasey Edwards. I have always wanted to be a mom, I have kept a baby name list on my phone since I was 15 years old. This article changed everything for me. I had never once thought about how my eating disorder or my body image could effect my children. That morning I vowed to love my body, no matter how it changed throughout recovery. That journey has been a long one and although, I am mostly recovered now, I still struggle. My mantra has been " It's a journey, and I am always evolving". During the times I felt like I couldn't keep going I would remind myself of this little saying. In addition to this little saying these three things were crucial for me to start loving the body I am in: Find Strength For me I found my strength through my yoga practice. Never before yoga had I appreciated what my body could do and for the first time I was in awe of my own strength. Yoga helped me connect to my body in such a positive way. The key to finding my strength was finding something that made me appreciate all that the body I lived in had to offer. I definitely recommend any activity that makes you feel that way! Be in awe of what you can do because you are amazing and worth being in awe over! Give Yourself Praise When I first started recovery I found myself engaged in a lot of negative self talk. I would put my body down constantly. Once I realized I was doing this I noticed how draining it truly was. Instead of putting myself down I would start looking for things to compliment myself on. This was not easy and I felt cheesy doing it at first, but you know what? After doing it for a while, it worked! I just had a friend the other day tell me she loves my confidence! Me? Confident? A few years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of someone telling me that. I yearned to feel confident and secure in the person I was. I have come a long way since then and finding little ways to remind myself of that has truly helped. I challenge you to rock out that outfit you have been dying to wear, but haven't gotten to courage yet to pull it out of the closet. You know which one I am talking about! Put that outfit on and tell yourself you look damn good in it, because you do! Find Support Falling in love with your body doesn't just happen, but I encourage you to surround yourself with people who believe in how awesome you are and are also focused on living a body positive life. For me I found support through reading body positive pinterest boards, blogs, following my favorite feminist body positive advocates on instagram, and letting the people around me know that I was on a journey to love myself just the way I am. As an artists, I see beauty in every size. There is such an immense pressure on women today to look a certain way, and if we all looked the same there would be nothing unique or special about the bodies we have been blessed with. Imagine going to the art museum and all the paintings looking the same. No one wants that. FInd your own group of amazing people and kick the haters out of your life, because you look incredible just the way you are. My desire to become a mother one day is what ultimately saved me from my destructive behavior, because not only do I want to be better for myself, I want to be better for them. I had to fall in love with the body I have before I could even dream of carrying another person inside of me. I won't tell you that falling in love with my "pre-pregnancy body" was easy and I definitely still struggle, but by letting go of the negativity I have found a power within myself that I never knew was there before, I value myself, I have grown into a better person, because life is "a journey, and I am always evolving". Back to top